Ridgetop Police Chief Bryan Morris says the city’s mayor and vice mayor want to cripple his police department.
This, Morris said, is their way to retaliate against him for telling the community about alleged ticket quotas.
The mayor is Tony Reasoner. The vice mayor is McCaw Johnson.
Morris told The Tennessee Star Thursday the two men demanded his officers issue a certain number of tickets every month to generate revenue for the town. According to the most recent U.S. Census figures, Ridgetop has about 2,100 residents. Ridgetop is in Robertson County.
Morris said outsiders consider his city a speed trap.
No one at the city mayor’s office returned The Star’s request for comment Thursday.
“They (the mayor and vice mayor) want a self-sufficient police department. They don’t want to pay to have a police department,” Morris said.
“Our payroll is usually around $260,000. They want us to write $300,000 worth of tickets. That will cover our payroll and a considerable amount of our budget.”
As the Nashville-based FOX 17 TV station recently reported, Morris told the community about the mayor’s and vice mayor’s alleged demands. Residents were so angry they packed a town meeting Tuesday night.
Thus, the reason why the mayor and vice mayor allegedly have it out for Morris.
Morris told The Star he doesn’t think his actions jeopardized his job.
“No. I don’t think they will fire me. I think they will make things too hard for me to run the department, to get me to leave. But what they are doing in the meantime is they are killing the city,” Morris said, adding his position is an appointed one and board members would have to vote to fire him.
“They have cut off overtime. They asked me to do a 20 percent budget cut from the beginning of the year, which equates to $80,000, which means they want me to get rid of two more positions. They mayor told me he wants three officers and nothing else.”
The mayor and vice mayor have also demanded an hour-by-hour account of where officers are and what they are doing at any given time, Morris said.
“As of today, they came over and locked my storage above my police department, which is where we keep all our case files,” Morris said.
“They took me off the alarm code at city hall. These are petty things, trying to get me to quit.”
Only one out of the city’s five board members supports Morris, he said.
As FOX 17 reported, the alleged ticket quotes troubled state Sen. Kerry Roberts, R-Springfield, and state Sen. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon.
“It’s way off base. It’s way off target and it’s not fair to the police officers or the public and it’s up to us as legislators to bring this in,” the station quoted Pody as saying.
Pody and Roberts are reportedly looking into what they can do in their capacity as state legislators.
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Police Chief Bryan Morris” by Bryan Morris and “Ridgeport Police Department” by Ridgeport Police Department.